Harla Primary School
As I first was a bit confused for the reason of Language(I Speak Amharic and almost all Harla primary School students speak Oromifa) and working Hours (The students come to school only half a day) which was making me idol for some half days.After knowing the school community and the system, I start doing things strategically. Meeting Teachers (all teachers speak Amharic which help me a lot), learning Greetings in Oromifa with students I meet, having a sketchbook and a marker always to communicate through ‘moving sketches’ (I admire the strength of Zoma Contemporary Art Center for the Endurance they have while communicating)
I had similar experience with UNICEF Ethiopia as amateur artist, doing Documentary and interactions with children and youth to make their voices to be heard by African Leaders on their summit. I was more of outsider, interviewing them, asking ‘flat’ questions and be a kind of unicef guy for the reason of the system which could not allow us to be more functional, but here, this is my project, my interest which really need me to be in the children, in the mood, and in the community, in many ways so that I will have the right sense of Gender and Good life in ‘Harla’s children’ context.
Any ways, after the Questionnaire, the interview and the interaction with the children,I decided to contribute something for the pedagogical center which is painting and showing a shortcuts for doing craft things for teaching aid materials. I had to sit all half days in the school waiting students to talk and share which was really fun for me and that is the most time I am having a lesson in many things from the children, their thoughts on gender and Good life instead of the Interview with a video camera and all the junk. Most of them were enjoyingmaking me understand what they are saying through the sketches.
When meeting a student whom I did not meet, I will say ‘I am Robel and I am female’ confused and ask how come I be female, was the part where we start talking on Gender and stuff like that. I was weird for them until they get my point. Then it becomes fun for them to listen me being Female.We argued a lot on being ‘Female’ or ‘Male’. But I didn’t conclude anything since I am not there to give them a lecture. Games like I am ‘female’. And ask boys to be ‘female’ to join my group, ‘girls group’. Through this boys refusing not to be, will reason out and discuss a lot. It was Information, which make them not to be‘female’ or ‘male’. Some of the Girls haven’t seen or heard of woman driving a car, so they will choose to be a ‘man’ to drive a car in the future. Some boys do not know female can be Professor, so they don’t want to be girl.
For me, as it has been almost two moths stay with students and the community of Harla village, and it seems creasy when I say this, but I am saying there is almost no Gender based discriminations and gender based practices. Especially the children under the age of 14 are totally free form this Gender issues and practices. As I already put the luck of information is the obstacle for them to be what they want to be. Or to realize and set their ‘want to be’, there is no much more information on professions and study fields. Most of them want to bee Teacher, School Director, Medical Doctor, Engineer, and pilot. The reason is that’s what they are close to or have heard about.
It is hard for me to conclude that they will have plenty enough choices after they have information, because it is not that easy for me. I see the advantage of being some how far from Information and this ‘Globalization’. This will lead them to loose what they already have and developed for centuries and for generations. In Harla village where there is a small access to information, the ‘GENDER EQUALITY’ exists. I am afraid of the village having much information and technology through the globalization concept and loose the ‘originality’ they have. Maybe if possible, it will be helpful for people living in cities, globalized world and generation to learn something form this ‘rural village’.
It is telling me all this Gender Equality existed before the Inequality. So how about using the shortcut, which the Harla people are using already.
Harla, Dire Dawa Ethiopia